Understanding Italy’s sale season

Italy isn’t like a lot of countries in that it has two main sales each year. Of course you’ll find bits and pieces on sale almost constantly throughout the year, but these are the ones to put in your calendar.

I come from Australia and the notorious Boxing Day sales, which are a bit like Black Monday in the US, so I know how to elbow other women in the head to get a pair of camel coloured sandals that I only sort of love.

But the best part of sales in Italy is that when there’s a sale, everything is on sale. You can buy that rug you were admiring the month before for 30-40 per cent cheaper. It’s insane.


I’m writing this because the sales are on now. Yep, early January is one of the two sale seasons in Italy. The other one is in mid-August.

I countdown the days until sales. In fact, I am so hesitant to buy anything at any other time of the year because I know that if I’m patient enough, I can get it for half the price.

That said, there are some tricks to sales. Almost every brand will have a sale during this period. My favourites are naturally Zara Home, Zara (have you seen their havaianas?) and H&M. Maison du Monde and Ikea have token sales. They insist their prices are low enough that they don’t need sales, but I think that’s a load of rubbish.

International brands don’t usually follow suit, even if they do ship to Italy and luxury labels don’t even bother getting involved.

Prices are the same online and in the store, but you’re better off shopping online simply because you’ll have a wider selection. Shipping at Zara and H&M is worth it. Zara Home wants 14 euro, which is a bit steep, but if you buy a lot, you can usually justify it.

My last tip is be patient. I always play a very risky game with my sales. Initial sales are usually no more than 20 per cent. If you wait until the sales end, sometimes and I mean sometimes you can find the same items slashed by 60 per cent. This works really well with Zara Home. I bought a 170 euro rug for 60 euro last year just by waiting until February for the last of the sales. Of course, this would never work for Zara because you would not find your size! And I wouldn’t do it if you are utterly in love with the piece. It’s not worth the risk!

Happy shopping!


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